The Hermit’s Reckoning


Every morning I forget how it is.
I watch the smoke mount
In great strides above the city.
I belong to no one.
Then I remember my shoes,
How I have to put them on,
How bending over to tie them up
I will look into the earth.
-Poem by Charles Simic


As I sat on the train, aching to be alone and carrying the news of an old friend’s sudden death in my brain, I remembered to put my Metrocard away and found this poem on the back. Sometimes the universe has a way of finding you out when you want nothing more than to hide. As a dedicated member of the poetry club in high school, I was familiar with Charles Simic and remembered this tiny yet profound poem from years ago. When I arrived home, I lit a candle for my friend and ruminated on the fact that there are some mysteries that will remain unsolved. I spoke out loud, “We’re all alone, yet together on this planet.” As we enter Virgo season this week, I’m reminded of this delicate balance, the integration of ideas into earthly results and the solitary journeys necessary for transformation. When life perplexes us, we all have the collective need to discover answers, understand and find out the deeper meaning. What if the journey is the lesson and at the end we arrive right back where we started?

Virgo is an earth sign ruled by Mercury and has many associations: the maiden gathering wheat, the strategist or researcher painstakingly noting the details, and often, the hermit working alone, striving for excellence and knowledge. The Hermit is the 9th trump card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot and whether it’s organizing ones’ closet or scientific research, Virgo needs to work solo initially before incorporating others into their grand scheme of things. In the classic illustration of the Hermit card, we see an older man with a long beard, his cloak a symbol of protection, carrying a lantern of truth containing a six-pointed star, the hexagram a world-wide symbol of spirit. In one hand he carries a staff to help navigate his rocky path.

The Hermit’s journey is a spiritual and internal one that requires meditation, isolation, unplugging from technology and keeping at bay any distractions that will hinder his growth while uncovering hidden knowledge. Virgo’s opposite is water sign Pisces, symbolized by two fishes swimming in opposite directions and on Sunday August 26th at 7:56am EST, we culminate this intense summer of reckoning, realizations and wake-up calls, thanks to three wild eclipses and countless retrograde planets, with a Full Moon in Pisces. Named the Sturgeon Moon, as fish were a plenty this time of year for the Native American tribes near the Great Lakes, the August full moon is also called the grain or red moon. August is the first harvest, a bountiful culmination made possible by the scythe cutting down wheat, the reaping of the fields, and the reckoning of our souls. Dog days, hazy and hot, the end of summer feels like a slow and inevitable death, but without these seasons of change, we would forever exist in a stagnant state of being. Early autumn breezes are reminding us to take our final dips of summer, which is only endless in our imagination.


Use this weekend’s full moon to reflect on cycles, lessons learned, and magic that occurred this summer. Spend time near the ocean, rivers, or a lake alone, taking stock of who you are now. If this summer has left you staring in the bathroom mirror wondering who you are now, take solace in this uncertainty, for change is right around the corner. Watch as fish zig-zag effortlessly and then take a closer look at their movements; which ones glide on their journey and which ones stumble. Draw symbols or write words reflecting what you’d like to release into the sand by the shore and watch as the waves morph them, eventually washing them away. Use the opposing energy of Virgo’s boundaries, restrictions and discipline with Pisces gushing waters of creativity to think about your own way of processing information, relationships and modes of communication.

Many artists hate the idea of limitations, but innovative ideas often emerge from making the most of what you’ve got and no one knows how to squeeze all the juice out of a lemon like a Virgo. Virgo season reveals what motivates our day-to-day desires, patterns, routines, details and how to skillfully weave the fabric between them. Pisces energy is rich and unrestricted but when molded, edited and shaped by Virgo tactile hands, a true masterpiece can be formed. As you slow down and marinate in these final summer days, the Full Moon gives us a chance to enjoy moments of solitude, something that seems impossible these days with commitments, work, families, and social media all vying for our attention. Carve out some hermit time for yourself as purification, renewal and the journey towards it is always worth it.

Originally published on Slutist

Photo Credits: Hermit Tarot Cards by Cat Cabral and The Crone by Morgan Claire Sirene

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